Mums Share: Cloth Nappies in Child Care

So Facebook crashed today for several hours, which got me to thinking about all the useful information we have on our Facebook page, most of it provided by very experienced cloth users who are generous to share their knowledge with those more recently embarking on the cloth journey. So, in fear that Facebook will one day disappear, I'm going to gradually transfer information from there that may be of use to others in the future on to our blog.

Jade asked a very interesting question about child care providers and cloth nappies:

My daughter was in family day care last year and we are now looking at an early learning centre for her. Both places had a strict policy banning cloth nappies. I don't see how putting a cloth nappy in a bag is less hygenic then throwing a disposable one in the bin, so my question is, is this through lack of education on behalf of the care providers re MCNs or is there a health and safety policy in place in Vic or Australia preventing cloth nappy use in formal registered childcare? Thank you!

Here are the responses:

Darlings Downunder

I've copied the below from The Australian Nappy Network's Fact Sheet on Cloth in Childcare. You'll find the link to the page here [Update 2012 - sorry this page is now unfortunately defunct!] It has some hints on how to present the case for cloth to care providers as well. Excellent resource and worth reading.
Here's a summary:
*No State regulations say anything about not using cloth nappies.
*All centres must participate in national accreditation with the National Childcare Accreditation Council. Nothing in the accreditation documentation precludes or discourages the use of cloth nappies, in fact it promotes continuity of care between home and the centre and respect for parenting choices. Cloth nappying is a parenting choice and parents should not have to alter their practices when there is no valid reason nor should they have to incur additional costs.
*The Australian Government document 'Staying Healthy in Childcare' while not saying that you can't use cloth, does note "Disposable nappies may reduce the risk of infections as disposable nappies do not leak as easily as cloth nappies and are able to be disposed of immediately." Some carers may interpret that as reason to exclude cloth. This statement is outdated and based on nappy practices and products from decades ago. The document does include a section on using cloth nappies.

Jade - perhaps demonstrating that other centres support cloth use would help. There's a link on this page to Cloth Friendly Childcare Centres in each state [Update 2012 - yep - this page is now also no longer available!] So, yes, it's lack of education and (again!) the perceived extra work involved in cloth nappies.
I hope this helps!

Lynda L
My son has been in 2 day care centres and both have used the MCN's on my son. One has a cloth nappy policy the other didn't. I suppy the MCN's with flushable liners so there is no need for them to do anything but put the MCN in the bucket I provide.
I would ask them what there cloth nappy policy is, as just banning is not a policy.
Personally I would keep phoning around until you find one that suits your needs.

Good Luck I hope you find one....

Susan B
Hi Jade,
There is no formal policy in place in Vic preventing use of cloth nappies in registered childcare.
Our daughter is 2 and a half and attends long daycare and we converted to cloth at the start of this year. We send her in a MCN with a spare MCN in a wetbag, and they use disposables (which they supply) during the day. When they change her out of the MCN they put it in the wetbag, and they put the fresh MCN on her just before going home time. Our reason for converting to MCNs was to cut down on the waste and landfill at home, but we didn't end up going down the path of 100% MCN use at daycare, just at home. But I'm pretty sure our centre would have been happy for us to go 100% MCN if we'd wanted to (as they supply the disposables so this would be cheaper for them). A friend of mine sent her son to long daycare that had a no disposables policy - you could send/pick up your child in a disposable, but the centre used terry squares, not MCN's - so each centre is individual.
My daughter is one of only 2 children at her centre who use MCN's - but the centre has never said anything negative or expressed any concerns about using them. We also provide flushable liners with our MCN's.
I can understand a centre wanting to ban terry squares if you were using the traditional safety pins (health and safety reasons), but terry squares with a snappi or MCNs shouldn't pose a concern. I would be inclined to ask your centre what their objections are and see if you can address their specific concerns through education and information.
Good Luck


Ries N
Hi, two child care providers and my family day carer all used them after I gave a demo for my two youngest aged 1 and 2. i provide a really large wet bag, but they still like to chuck stuff in plastic in there to my frustration. I ask them not to do anything but roll it up like a disposable and put in the wet bag, I will do it all at home. my day carer now separates two in ones when necc. poo's just stay there, as the toilet is too far from the change table to carry out, so we stopped using liners as it was simpler and less handling. i've always sent cute ones, and kept it simple by changing to only one brand so when they get used to it, it does not change. i also took in samples to get them to play with on my child on the trial days at the child care centres and they chose which brand they liked. all of the staff have made comments about how gorgeous they are and even looked into the cost of them for the baby group. i sold them on the usual issues, no creams, no rashes, and basically said my kids were allergic to disposables from the outset...which was true.

Melanie N
I have not had any issues using MCN's at child care. I switched to cloth when my second daughter was 5 months but bought disposables for childcare to begin with but after a few days of terrible nappy rash after childcare I took a MCN in and showed them and they were more than happy to give them a go. I used fitteds with covers with my daughter. MCN's have come a long way since then and I now use AIO's with my son who has just started childcare, at the same centre. The centre doesn't provide any nappies and it clearly states in the information book for parents to supply disposable nappies. When I asked if I could bring MCN's in for my son there was no hesitation. After using them his carers have all raved about them, the ones who weren't there when my daughter was a baby had never seen them before. I just provide a large wetbag which they put all dirty/wet nappies in for me to take home. I would be ringing around and finding a centre that will use cloth, but maybe take them in and show them cos as soon as you say cloth many people still picture terry squares
Deborah F
Hi Jade,
Before becoming a full time mummy I use to work in child care. One centre I worked at asked parents to provide disposables - this was due to the ease of a disposable at nappy change time and the lack of knowledge on mcns. So they wanted to change nappies as quick and hassle free as possible and to them cloth equaled terry flats, pins and pilchers.
At another centre I worked at there was no issue and one mum provided the flats, snappi and all she asked us to do was put all the nappies in a plastic bag no need to rinse off poo or anything and she would do the rest at home.

I would say it would be due to lack of knowledge that the centres have a no cloth policy but if you show them the mcn and explain it is like a disposable but it is cloth and that you will provide everything including the flushable liners already lined in the nappy so the staff do not need to do anything but flush the liner and put the nappy in a wet bag they should have no problem.

Tam B
Do they have actual written policies and if so what is their justification - and is it reasonable (based on facts/laws). If it's not written in a policy they can't say no. I had a daycare tell me no, because of 'health issues' but they and i looked into it and they found as long as they were stored away from the children it wasn't an issue. They didn't have a policy excluding cloth nappies, so I was prepared to fight it the whole way.

If all else fails get a medical note from your doctor.

Christie M
Our centre provides cloth no charge or you can supply your own dispys.
Cotton fitteds, pinned and with a pull-on pilcher. They are changed 2hrly at maximum and (before she was TT) DD never had any issues with leaks on clothing or nappy rash. They are a very eco friendly centre :)

Sharon G
Our centre uses cloth quite happily, but I provide them. They don't like the poos, but do it for me anyway. They are very obliging.

Jade L
Wow thanks guys very informative. The statement banning cloth from family day care comes from the council, which is interesting! I will have a discussion with the carers. Thanks again and I hope this helps others too.

Thanks for asking the question, Jade - we hope it helps others too!
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